A few months ago I was invited to participate in a Mindfulness session for university staff and faculty by Dr. Rikki Asher at Queens College. When I agreed to visit the Queens College campus (which happened a few weeks ago), I decided to pack in a number of different activities and meetings so that I could make the most of the trip. While Queens College is not physically far from the museum or my home, getting there can be a bit of a trek. I live 8 miles away from Queens College, but it can take up to an hour and a half by public transportation or 15 minutes by car. Oddly, the car service that picked me up decided that my verbal directions were not correct, so I ended up on a scenic tour of every college in Queens that was not Queens College (I finally got a chance to see York and St. John’s). When I finally arrived an hour later, I began a 10 hour adventure into academia.
My first stop was at the Center for Teaching & Learning to assist with a session called Mindfulness Practices in Teaching and Learning with Dr. Asher. It was a really interesting experience because the session, which involved silence and breathing exercises, took place in a large computer lab (not the most peaceful of locations). I worked with the faculty to engage in mindful art observation practices, and by the end of our session, we quickly forgot that we were in a room full of monitors and turned our attention inwards.
In a very mindful state I rushed over to the Godwin-Turnbach Museum for a meeting with Director and Curator Amy Winter. She’s assembled a magnificent display of objects from India for Queens College’s Year of India initiative, and we’re planning some student tours of our collection later in the Spring. We donated a few catalogs from our collection to supplement their educational resources.
Our meeting was cut short because I had to dash to the Dean’s Office for a meeting with Dean Bill McClure to discuss the Queens College courses we host at the museum. I then raced over to the Arts Center and Art Library which was an amazing facility. The Art Center is a beautiful circular gallery, and a hidden gem at Queens College (as is their student gallery located close to the Godwin-Turnbach). The library houses a robust collection of our catalogs and I delivered our two newest editions, The Black Hat Eccentric and The Place of Provenance.
After a quick bite of pizza I headed back to the Godwin-Turnbach to host a table of touch objects in the lobby for students. It was a great way to promote our new Himalayan NYC initiative, and students were happy to see that we included numerous shop and dining experiences in Queens that promote Himalayan Culture.
I finished up my day in an amazing studio space with a group of art education students. I led a collaborative art lesson that the students could use for their curriculum portfolio, and then observed two student lessons on public art.
Ten hours later I came out knowing a lot more about Queens College. It’s truly a magnificent campus with warm, friendly, and imaginative students and faculty.